“Do You Know Why We Vote on Tuesday?” I asked the man standing behind me as we waited in line for an hour one Monday afternoon in October during Early Voting here in Florida. He didn’t know, and was quite surprised when I explained to him that it was because back in the days when people in this country traveled by horse and buggy, they needed a day to get to the polls and they couldn’t travel on Sundays. I asked the question again last night of a woman I was talking to at an impromptu party of all the local volunteers who worked on the campaign. She too was surprised by the answer.
Quite frankly, I didn’t know the answer myself until I saw this post by Upworthy in July on my Facebook news feed.
And here’s the video:
I want to tell you all about a piece of American history that is so secret that nobody has done anything about it for 167 years; until right now. And the way that we're going to uncover this fistula organ of America past is by asking this question: WHY? As we all know, we're in the middle of yet another presidential election; hotly contested as you can see. But what you may not know is that American voter turnout ranks near the bottom of all countries in the entire world; 138th of 172 nations. This is the world's most famous democracy. So, why do we vote on Tuesday? Does anybody know? And as a matter of fact, Michigan and Arizona are voting today. Here's the answer: Absolutely no good reason whatsoever. I'm not joking. You will not find the answer in the Declaration of Independence; nor will you find it in the Constitution. It is just a stupid law from 1845.I wish I could be as optimistic as Jacob Soboroff is in the video, but I’m not because when I looked up the Weekend Voting Act, I read the prognosis that it had a ZERO percent chance of being enacted. I also read the full text of the Bill, which not only changes our Election Days for federal elections to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November; but also designates poll hours to be Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and ending on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. My one complaint is that it specifically says “eastern standard time” and I think that should be changed to “local time.”
In 1845 Americans traveled by horse and buggy; as did I evidently. It took a day or longer to get to the county seat to vote, a day to get back, and you couldn't travel on the Sabbath, so Tuesday it was. I don't often travel by horse and buggy. I would imagine most of you don't either, so when I found out about this, I was fascinated. I linked up with a group called what else? Why Tuesday?; to go and ask some of our nation's most prominent elected leaders if they knew the answer to the question, "Why do we vote on Tuesday?"Video of Rick Santorium, Former U.S. Senator: Anybody know? Okay, I'm going to be stumped on this. Anybody know why we vote on Tuesdays?Video of Ron Paul, U.S. Representative.
Inverviewer: Do you happen to know?
Ron Paul: On Tuesdays?
Inverviewer: Uh huh. The Tuesday after the first Monday in November?
Ron Paul: I don't know how that originated.Video of Newt Gingrich, Former House Speaker.
Inverviewer: Do you happen to know why we vote on Tuesday?
Newt Gingrich: No.Video of Dick Lugar, U.S. Senator: No I don't.Video of Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator: I don't.Video of Darrell Issa, U.S. Representative: No.Video of John Kerry, U.S. Senator: To be truthful with you, I'm not sure why.These are people who live for Election Day, yet they don't know why we vote on that very day. Chris Rock said, "They don't want you to vote. If they did, we wouldn't vote on a Tuesday. In November. [Have you] ever thrown a party on a Tuesday?" No, of course not. Nobody would show up.
Here's the cool part. Because we asked this question, Why Tuesday?, there's now this bill, the Weekend Voting Act, in the Congress of the United States of America. It would move Election Day from Tuesday to the weekend, so that duh, more people can vote. It has only taken 167 years, but finally we are on the verge of changing American history. Thank you very much.
I visited the Why Tuesday? and discovered that it is a “non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout.” If what happened here in Florida this past Tuesday is any indication of the progress they have made since 2005, all I can say is: they need our help!
It seems to me that this is the perfect time to increase the pressure and advocate for a change in the way we vote with the most recent election fresh in everybody’s minds. This needs to be done at the national level because the current way we vote is in the hands of partisan officials at the state level and has proven to be unacceptable. As you know, during his acceptance speech on Tuesday night, President Obama said:
Whether you voted for the first time, or waited in line for a very long time — by the way we have to fix that.We do have to fix that! We have to make sure we fix that! Anybody in this country who claims to be a Patriot should support changing how we vote to make it easier and more convenient. Politicians who rely on our votes should want every American to be able cast a ballot.
"I'm going to work to put together a group statewide that can address these issues and make some meaningful recommendations to the Legislature," said Iorio, a former three-term supervisor of elections in Hillsborough County and a past president of the State Association of Supervisors of Elections.How did incoming state Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) react to the idea of a Iorio’s group?
"The last voter in Florida didn't cast their ballot until after 1 a.m.," Iorio wrote on Facebook, where she announced the effort. "This is the 21st century in the greatest country on Earth and people have to stand in line for eight hours to vote? This is wrong, and it is time for a bipartisan solution."
Sen. Gaetz said he's "willing to look at any proposal," but "I don't think we necessarily need a task force." Better, he said, would probably be for elections supervisors to make recommendations to legislators who can file a bill.Yeah right. Let’s let the Florida legislature fix the problems they created this election season when they reduced Early Voting days and packed the ballot with 11 amendments to the state constitution; as if what they did had nothing to do with the long lines so many of my fellow Floridians experienced this time around. I have a better idea. Let’s make our voices heard in Washington and support a national change to the law as to when and how we vote.
Gaetz said he supports making voting more convenient and has sponsored legislation to help troops cast ballots overseas.
Where to start? First, I looked and could not find an existing group here at Daily Kos dedicated to changing and/or expanding when we vote. So I created a new group, Do You Know Why We Vote On Tuesday? I chose that name because I think it is the question that is a great conversation starter when we talk to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. If you would like to join the group, please post a comment requesting an invitation. This is my first attempt at starting a group here at Daily Kos, so I would appreciate all the assistance I can get from others who are interested in writing diaries on this topic and would also like to be an editor to help identify and post other diaries to the group’s feed.
Thank you in advance for your support and assistance!